April 16, 2021
A fairly famous, yet very quiet conversation echoes from 2,000 years ago. One night at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, a respected leader among the Jewish people came to him in the cover of night. Nicodemus, a well-seasoned, wise teacher, wanted to know what Jesus was preaching about the kingdom of God. He had questions and maybe a few concerns. Jesus responded by saying that to be a part of God’s kingdom, one must be born again. Nicodemus was confused: how can someone be born a second time?
Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:5-8).
As Jesus spoke with Nicodemus that night, he began to paint a picture of life in God’s kingdom. Jesus declared that life in the world and life in the kingdom of God are two very different lives. Life in the world is shaped by the world. It is a life that is filled with the things of the world. At times it can seem quite beautiful, but its beauty quickly fades. Often it is ugly and broken. It is a life filled with heartache, injustice, pain and evil. It is life which is not life at all.
Life in God’s kingdom means life formed by the Spirit. It is a life filled with the good things of God. It is a life where there may be suffering and pain, but these do not have the final word. Its beauty and joy last, even in the face of the hurting caused by this world. It is filled with hope, justice, right relationships and holiness. It is life that is truly life.
And how do we find this new life? How do we become part of the family of God? How can we be born again? By receiving the gifts the Father has given for us: the gift of his Son, Jesus Christ, and the gift of his Holy Spirit. When you believe in Jesus, that he is the Son of God and your Savior, you are born again and you receive the breath of life which is the Spirit of God.
Throughout history the Spirit of the Lord has been at work among his people. The Spirit worked through Moses as he led the people out of Egypt and to the Promised Land. The Spirit directed the judges who shepherded God’s chosen people as they settled the land. God spoke by his Holy Spirit through the prophets. But these glimpses of the Spirit were never enough. God was desiring to give ALL of his people the gift of his Holy Spirit. This is the gift God has been longing to give to you.
If you find your heart stirred today and you want to know more about the life God offers you, call any one of the churches on this list. We all want you to know the love and power of God and the gift of new life he has for you.